Sunday, July 15, 2012

Future of Education: Going the Online Way!

No longer is education limited to just traditional 'brick and mortar' classrooms. Right from kids to adults, everyone is going the online way as far as education is concerned via a series of online classes and courses. These classes are offered either by experienced independent teachers or by schools and colleges that also conduct regular classroom-based teaching.

According to a survey conducted by the Sloan Consortium, over 5.6 million students took an online class in 2011, accounting to about 30 percent of the total U.S. college students. The number of students taking online courses has definitely increased compared to the 2009 Sloan Consortium survey report that showed just negligible 10 percent of students taking such internet-based courses.

Now, what can be the reason behind the increasing popularity of online classes? Let us find out.

Flexibility of Learning

Today, students prefer to learn at their convenience. With online classes, they can easily choose their time to study and likewise schedule time for other tasks like tuitions or sports. Many students find traditional classrooms to be hectic, as they need to sit all day long attending individual classes on a continuous basis. Breaks are short and the ongoing learning process can sometimes be quiet overbearing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We Need Better Education to Train People for New Jobs, but Isn't That Corporate Welfare?

It is interesting that in the United States, all the politicians tell us that they are going to help provide more jobs for Americans. The first thing they point to is the notion that Americans are not qualified and trained, or educated properly for the new jobs in the new era of our growing economy and fast-paced innovative world. The reality is there is always new innovation, and the jobs do change, and therefore the training must also change. What bothers me about these podium pushing politicians that get up there and tell us these things, is that to pay for this, they wish to raise our taxes.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay anymore taxes, and I don't like the inefficient way that our state and federal government runs its affairs. It's a bloated bureaucracy and it is highly inefficient. Maybe the government needs to go back to training, and maybe the politicians need to get a life. Secondly, and I have another comment, and this one is more serious. Do you know why politicians whether Republican or Democrat always claim that the problem is education, and to get more jobs, we need more money in education?

It's simple, because the teachers unions are supported by the Democrats. And many of the corporations support the Republicans. The corporations would love to have all of their labor pre-trained and ready to work the day they start. And they would love for someone else to do it. The teachers of course would like to have lots of work, guarantee employment, and excellent benefits.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Online Continuing Education Classes Explained

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers, adults, and professionals are going back to school to further their education. Many of them are choosing online classes and online degree programs. Not every course or program is the same, but many of them have similar characteristics. Whether you are a professional completing your required continuing education training or a student looking to complete a master's degree online; there is a program available for you. Today we are going to talk about what to expect in an online course and how they can benefit you.

Most professionals have to complete a certain amount of continuing education every 1-2 years. Online classes are very popular for full-time working adults. They are easier to complete and very flexible. Depending on the school, asynchronous courses are usually the preferred method of online classes. Asynchronous means the student does not have to be online at a specific time. They can log in and complete their work whenever they want. Industries including insurance, legal, nursing, and real estate, all require continuing education classes. You can log in, read the textbooks, and then take an exam. That is your typical course when it comes to completing your education online.

An online class at a college or University can be very different. There is usually much more involved in their courses. There will usually be a professor and sometimes even a facilitator conducting the course. There is usually a lot of interaction between the professor and the students in an online course. Support is very important for online students to succeed. Also, in an online college course you will get a syllabus and due dates for your assignments. These courses may be asynchronous or not. If they are not, you will have to log in for live chats with your classmates throughout the week. These can actually be very beneficial even though they seem like an inconvenience. In a live chat you can network with your other classmates and also ask the professor questions. It is easier than sending an email and having to wait for a reply.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Special Education and No Child Left Behind: Mandated High Stakes Testing

Special Education and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are related in several ways. Due to the requirements established in the 2001 NCLB law the vast majority of special education students are required to participate in your district and state annual assessments. This is not a decision the special education teacher has made or often condoned; it is required unless your child is extremely impaired and has not been exposed to the core content standards. There are very rigid laws regarding the assessment process so it is important to check the Accommodations and Modifications Section of your child's IEP to make sure your child has all of the needed testing accommodations.

You may have noticed a lot of talk in the media about state waivers for portions of the NCLB regulations. Many states have requested to receive a waiver that will allow for a little more flexibility in some of the regulations while increasing their accountability. One of the regulations where flexibility may be granted is in assessing students on multiple measures rather than on one test score. This is good news for special education students who often struggle with high stakes tests because they are being assessed on material that they have not learned or been exposed to due to their disability and their educational needs.

I remember a conversation I had with an Assistant Superintendent about this issue. I was trying to explain the educational damage (let alone the emotional damage) I was likely to inflict on one of my 5th grade emotionally disturbed students who also had extreme dyslexia when I put a 5th grade reading assessment in front of him and told him he had to complete it independently (because you cannot read portions of the reading assessment to children as you can for a math or a science assessment). I remember asking her, "What helpful information could possibly be gained from this endeavor?" and her response was, "Well if he raises his score under "Insufficient" he could be proud of that and we'd know you taught him something about reading". I know she was only doing her job, but she obviously did not understand that if he raised his score it was likely because he guessed well as he could not read any of the content or questions placed before him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Special Needs Education - A Must For Every Student

Special needs is a very broad term. So before we can start to identify which of our students have special needs, we need to first identify some of what the term entails.

Usually the term would refer to a student who has a disability like blindness, deafness or who suffers from a specific mental disability. But the term should be used a lot broader than it is being used at the moment.

Description of a teacher who teaches special needs students:

    Every teacher in the world.

Now you may say that this is not true. I agree that there are teachers who specialize in this field and who are trained to specifically deal with students with very obvious special needs. These teachers do an incredible job. But if you look at the description of a student with special needs, you will understand that the need for special needs educators are so high that it is impossible to limit it to the handful there currently are.

Description of a student with special needs:

    Any student who is unable to learn and succeed at the same level as the majority of other mainstream learners.

Now there may be many different reasons as to why a student is not able to perform at the same level as his/her peers. Some of the most obvious ones are of course the physical and clear mental disabilities some students suffer from. In a class where mathematics are being explained in the old chalk-and-talk style, it is obvious that a blind learner will have trouble following along with the rest of his classmates. Everybody also accepts that a learner with Down's Syndrome will have more difficulty absorbing information than the learner with no form of mental disability.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Psychology Continuing Education Classes

Many professionals detest the idea of having to go back to school and take more classes. Understandably, you have paid your dues, but since you are employed in a career where you provide a service to help others, taking supplemental coursework enables you to be flexible and keep your edge.

One great way to advance your career and make more money is to take psychology continuing education classes. These classes not only help you to stay on top of your game, but also they allow you to become a more marketable and competitive individual. With all of the advancements made in technology, it is now possible for you to take your psychology continuing education classes online or if you miss the traditional classroom experience, you can now schedule your courses around your work schedule. Depending on where you work, some employers allow you to take certain psychology continuing education classes at work.

Since you are a practicing professional and you want to keep it that way, you can't afford to have a situation where you are not able to complete your psychology continuing education classes on time. Every state has a certain deadline for continuing education courses. Many hospitals and healthcare settings also have their own deadlines in place and they expect complete compliance or you are going to be missing a few days from work until you get the situation resolved.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Psycho Emotional Education

You may not have come across this term before, but you can probably guess what it means.... educating people both psychologically and emotionally.

We are accustomed to receiving years of education at basic and advanced levels in many academic subjects; but very rarely will anyone have been educated about themselves. We reach adulthood not knowing why we are the way we are, or what we can do about it. Neither have we learned about inter-personal relationships and how they work, and why they don't; or about how to enrich our lives and ensure greater and sustainable levels of natural happiness.

I believe that the ability to understand, take responsibility for, and to regulate, our emotional state is secondary only to the acquisition of a healthy and robust self-esteem.

Our parents, and earlier generations, will not have had any form of 'Psycho-Emotional-Education' themselves - and no-one can pass on to their children what they do not already know, or have, for themselves.

We are all complex beings with our own genetic make-up and innate tendencies, history, experiences, perceptions, preferences, and ways of expressing ourself, and of getting our needs met, or not.

We all experience a range of emotions - which inform us about what is going on for us in our personal 'inner-world', and they also motivate us into action.

Firstly we perceive/see/hear/smell/taste... then we think, imagine, and feel emotions and bodily sensations....and then we behave in a certain way - which is judged to be either positive or negative.

Understanding how our past has shaped us in the present day, and more importantly the choices we now have and the changes that we can make, all serve to empower us, both individually and collectively.